Archive:Beverages production statistics - NACE Rev. 1.1

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Data from January 2009, most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Main tables and Database

This article belongs to a set of statistical articles which analyse the structure, development and characteristics of the various economic activities in the European Union (EU). The present article covers alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, corresponding to NACE Rev 1.1 Group 15.9, which is part of the food, beverages and tobacco sector. The beverages covered in this article are:

  • mineral waters;
  • soft drinks;
  • beer;
  • wine;
  • spirits.

Note that this article does not include fruit and vegetable juices (NACE Class 15.32) or the processing of tea and coffee (NACE Class 15.86).

It should be noted that this article excludes the agricultural activities of growing, farming, rearing and hunting and also fishing (NACE Divisions 01 and 05). A number of products, such as wine, are also sold directly by agricultural holdings. As such, their weight is likely to be under-reported in this article, as part of their production is recorded as an agricultural activity.

Main statistical findings

Structural profile

Table 1: Manufacture of beverages (NACE Group 15.9). Structural profile, EU-27, 2006
Table 2: Manufacture of beverages (NACE Group 15.9). Structural profile: ranking of top five Member States in terms of value added and persons employed, 2006
Figure 1: Manufacture of beverages (NACE Group 15.9). Index of production, EU-27 (2000=100)
Table 3: Manufacture of beverages (NACE Group 15.9). Expenditure and productivity, EU-27, 2006

There were an estimated 22.0 thousand enterprises across the EU-27 that manufactured beverages as their main activity in 2006. These enterprises employed a little less than half a million persons (the equivalent of about one in every ten persons working in the food, beverages and tobacco manufacturing workforce). The beverages manufacturing sector of the EU-27 generated an estimated EUR 34.0 billion of value added in 2006. After the manufacture of bread, fresh pastry goods and cakes (NACE Group 15.8), this represented the second largest contribution (17.3 %) at the NACE group level to the total value added of the food, beverages and tobacco manufacturing sector in 2006.

The manufacture of beer (NACE Class 15.96) generated EUR 12.5 billion of value added in 2006, a little over one third (36.8 %) of the EU-27 total for these activities. The manufacture of mineral water and soft drinks (NACE Class 15.98) generated the next highest amount of value added (EUR 9.3 billion), the equivalent of just over a quarter (27.3 %) of the beverages total. The other main activities within the sector included the manufacture of distilled potable alcohol beverages (NACE Class 15.91) and wines (NACE Class 15.93), which generated EUR 5.8 billion and EUR 5.1 billion of value added respectively in 2006.

Beverages manufacturing in the United Kingdom generated EUR 6.4 billion of value added in 2006, a little less than one fifth (18.9 %) of the EU-27 total. Germany, France and Spain were the other main beverages manufacturing Member States, each of a broadly similar size in terms of their respective contributions to EU-27 value added in 2006. Poland was the most specialised Member State for the manufacture of beverages, as these activities contributed about four times the EU average to value added within the whole of the non-financial business economy in 2005. Romania, Bulgaria and Lithuania were also relatively specialised in beverages manufacturing, with specialisation ratios around 200 %.

There was an upward trend in the production index of beverages in the EU-27 in the ten years through to 2007 (with an average increase of 1.5 % per year). This long-term evolution was similar to that observed for the food, beverages and tobacco manufacturing sector, albeit somewhat more volatile in nature. The overall growth in the EU-27 index of production for beverages was driven mainly by higher growth for mineral waters and soft drinks (average annual growth of 2.5 %, despite a small decline in 2007) and wine (average growth of 1.4 % per year being underpinned by the increases in 2006 and 2007). In contrast, the production index for beer in 2007 was 6.1 % less than in 2000.

Expenditure and productivity

The beverages sector recorded the highest average personnel costs (EUR 36.4 thousand per employee) within the EU-27 in 2006 among the NACE groups that make-up the food, beverages and tobacco manufacturing sector. Nevertheless, total personnel costs for beverages manufacturing in the EU-27 represented only a slightly higher proportion of total operating expenditure (15.1 %) than was the case across food, beverages and tobacco manufacturing as a whole (13.8 %), suggesting that this activity had a relatively small but well-remunerated workforce.

The wage adjusted labour productivity ratio (203.3 % in 2006) of the beverages manufacturing sector was the second highest (behind tobacco manufacturing) among the ten NACE groups that comprise food, beverages and tobacco manufacturing. This relatively high ratio was based on apparent labour productivity of EUR 73.9 thousand across the EU-27’s beverages sector in 2006, which was about 75 % higher than the food, beverages and tobacco manufacturing average. Within the beverages sector, the apparent labour productivity of those producing beer (EUR 93.5 thousand per person employed) and distilled potable alcoholic beverages (EUR 97.2 thousand per person employed) was particularly high in 2006.

Relatively high wage adjusted labour productivity ratios were a common feature across almost all of the Member States within the beverages manufacturing sector. In the case of Poland, the ratio was particularly notable (865.2 % in 2005) – which was more than double the national average for the whole of food, beverages and tobacco manufacturing (361.7 %), which was in itself also by far the highest ratio among the Member States.

Data sources and availability

The main part of the analysis in this article is derived from structural business statistics (SBS), including core, business statistics which are disseminated regularly, as well as information compiled on a multi-yearly basis, and the latest results from development projects.

Other data sources include short-term statistics (STS).


The food, beverages and tobacco manufacturing sector in the EU is comprised of a relatively small number of enterprises that have a considerable global market presence, which operate alongside a high number of relatively small enterprises that serve more local, regional and national markets.

As these enterprises not only produce goods for final consumption but also intermediate products for other manufacturing activities, they are affected by a broad scope of legislation. The main legislative areas affecting the EU’s food, beverages and tobacco manufacturing sector, however, tend to involve international trade agreements, or food and feed legislation. As a majority of the EU’s agricultural production is processed by the food, beverages and tobacco manufacturing sector, developments in Common agricultural policy and associated Common Market Organisations can have important implications for costs and processes in the food chain. Regarding food legislation, the European Parliament and the Council proposed an update of the laws regarding the provision of information to consumers (COM(2008) 40 final) in 2008, in order to clarify and consolidate existing regulations. In part, this proposal was built on a 2007 White Paper covering a Strategy for Europe on Nutrition, Overweight and Obesity (COM(2007) 279 final), which stressed the need for consumers to have access to clear, consistent and evidence-based nutritional information.

A new Council Directive (Council Directive 2008/118/EC) clarifying the general arrangements for products subject to excise duty (alcoholic beverages, tobacco products and energy products) entered into force on the 15 January 2009 and will apply across the EU from 1 April 2010. Rules on the labelling of some alcoholic drinks was also updated; the definition, description, presentation, labelling and protection of geographical indications of spirit drinks was updated by the European Parliament and Council in January 2008, and that of certain wine products in April 2007.

Further Eurostat information


Main tables


Dedicated section

Other information

  • COM(2007) 279 final - A Strategy for Europe on Nutrition, Overweight and Obesity related health issues
  • Directive 2008/118 of 16 December 2008 concerning the general arrangements for excise duty and repealing Directive 92/12
  • Proposal COM(2008) 40 final for a Regulation on the provision of food information to consumers
  • Regulation 382/2007 of 4 February 2008 establishing the standard import values for determining the entry price of certain fruit and vegetables
  • Regulation 110/2008 of 15 January 2008 on the definition, description, presentation, labelling and the protection of geographical indications of spirit drinks and repealing Regulation 1576/89

External links

See also